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Volunteers come out for planting and weeding event on campus

 

by Eleni Kanavas

Warm, sunny weather brought volunteers out on July 9 for a planting and weeding event at U of T Scarborough that was part of a series of initiatives to enhance and beautify the campus environment.

Students and volunteers took a break from their busy schedules to enjoy an afternoon of digging out pesky weeds choking the plants in the wild flower garden near the Joan Foley Hall residence building. This activity is described as “monthly stewardship.” Some of the wildflower species found in the garden include: wild rose, harebell, Joe-Pye weed, New England asters, wild strawberries, currents, blue-eyed grass and coneflowers.

As part of the ongoing Green the Campus events, U of T Scarborough has been partnering with Evergreen, a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to building the relationship between nature, culture and community in urban spaces. The latest event was part of an effort to maintain the well-preserved areas of woodland surrounding the campus, organizers said.

“It’s such a treat to spend the day gardening in a beautiful area of green space,” said Alex Hume, Evergreen stewardship coordinator for U of T Scarborough. “I’m happy that I’m able to contribute to the health of the environment.”

The University of Toronto Scarborough campus is one of the largest expanses of green space in all of the City of Toronto, according to Hume. Historically, it is part of a vast green corridor that includes Colonel Danforth Park and extends all the way through Morningside Park and into Guildwood Park.

Neal Pivoc, acommunity member, said he has been volunteering with the planting and gardening on campus for the past two years.

“I enjoy participating in the events because I’m giving back to the community,” said the neighbourhood resident. “I’m helping to green the environment, not taking away from it.”

Pivoc says he is also familiar with the Highland Creek Valley, where he enjoys various activities in the summer such as biking through the trails or cross-country skiing in the winter.

This year, the creation of a community teaching and learning garden is a new initiative in partnership with Evergreen. The vegetable garden, located in the Highland Creek Valley on the lower campus (near the community and staff garden), includes heirloom species of vegetables and leafy greens such as spinach and lettuce. The gardeners will also use organic methods to maintain food production.

A Harvest Festival has also been scheduled for September 17 in celebration of the new community vegetable garden. Everyone from the campus community will be invited to attend and see the various vegetables grown such as the cosmic purple carrots. (Watch the web site for more details on this free event.)

“A lot of vegetable species are going extinct because of the commercialization of agriculture,” Hume said. “We will be giving away food to promote local and small-scale food production and to try to encourage people to grow their own vegetables.”

Several more events are planned throughout the summer and fall months in an effort to beautify the campus. These activities also give people the chance to get fresh air, exercise and make new friends. Members of the campus Evergreen committee encourage students, staff and faculty to join and get their hands dirty with the various environmental initiatives.

Gloves and equipment are provided and everyone from the campus community are invited to sign up through the Intranet. Upcoming events are as follows:

JULY

• Thursday, July 23 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - GARDEN WEEDING AND PEST CONTROL

AUGUST

• Thursday, August 13 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - MONTHLY STEWARDSHIP

• Tuesday, August 25 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – MONITORING OF PREVIOUS PLANTING

SEPTEMBER

• Thursday, September 10 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - MONTHLY STEWARDSHIP

• Thursday, September 17 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - HARVEST FESTIVAL (Watch for details.)

OCTOBER

• Thursday, October 8 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. – EVERGREEN HALLOWEEN: PUTTING THE GARDEN TO BED

• Friday, October 30 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. - MONTHLY STEWARDSHIP

Volunteers can sign up for all events via the intranet. Visit the campus website at www.utsc.utoronto.ca for details on these and other events.

For more information about the Sustainability Office on campus, visit www.utsc.utoronto.ca/~sustain.

For more information about Evergreen, visit www.evergreen.ca.




© University of Toronto Scarborough